Award-winning author, renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at her home in North Carolina. Joy Conrad tells what it has been like to teach Angelou's autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," at Luther.
From Joy Conrad:
I have taught Maya Angelou's autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," about two dozen times in my career as a teacher here at Luther. Angelou is a writer of extraordinary power and forgiveness. And sometimes, that is what is called for in working with students. This book opens doors for so many people to feel that it's ok to express grief and trauma, to talk about what has already scarred them in their lives and in expressing, heal. So many times, students have had that "Aha!" moment when they discover that the book is a testament to the healing power of words, that they can learn to "sing" about their own lives in words, song, dance, art. You can't read this book without being changed. Thank goodness.
Joy Conrad has been a instructor in the Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics department since 2007. In addition to Russian Studies, Joy Conrad has also led courses in Paideia, Global Studies and South African Studies.